10 Books on the Small Screen

You may already know that some of the most popular shows at the moment came from previously published books. However, you may not realize just how often these small screen hits have been adapted from stand alone books, or longer series.

Here are ten television shows that I have been happy to inform my husband have been based (at least loosely) on books. Some are obvious, and well known to come from books, while others might surprise you.

1)T[Cover]rue Blood is based on Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series, about vampires and other paranormal creatures and their interactions with people in Louisiana. The book series begins with Dead Until Dark, published in 2001. Fans of the books who watch the show are not necessarily “in the know”. By the end of the first season the respective plots have diverged enough for fans to enjoy both without knowing just what might happen next. The final book in the series, number 13, Dead Ever After was just published on May 7th.

2) Dexter is based on a book series about a serial killer with a strict moral code written by Jeff Lindsay. The first book, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, was published in 2004. Dexter’s Final Cut, the seventh book in the series, is scheduled for release in September of 2013.
3) Vampire Diaries is a television series based on a young adult book series of the same name, which began with The Awakening. The book series was originally written by  L.J. Smith, but is now ghost written because the publisher did not like the direction Smith wanted to take the characters in, and her contract gave the publisher the rights to her name and the series. There are now a collection of book sub-series, and it seems to still be going strong.

4) The Dresden Files was a television show that, sadly, only ran for one season on the Sci Fi channel in 2007. It was set in the same world as the book series of the same name, which began with Storm Front. The series was good, and can be found on DVD, but the book series about a wizard detective for hire and doing his best to make a difference, and stay alive, is phenomenal with 14 books and counting.

5) Game of Thrones, as you might already know, is based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, which began with A Ga[Cover]me of Thrones in 1996. While the television series has captivated many, and incited many to find the books, I must warn that, while the reads are well worth it, they can be daunting. The books are lengthy, at over 800 pages with the very shortest book, and the fifth book, A Dance With Dragons, tops 1000 pages. Books 6 and 7 are slated to be published in 2015 and 2019, respectively. If you want to ‘read’ the books, but are turned off or intimidated by their sheer size, A Game of Thrones has also been released as a graphic novel and as an audiobook.

6) The Walking Dead is a television series based on a zombie themed graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman. The first installment, Days Gone By was published in 2004, and the most recent volume, number 18,  titled What Comes After, comes out in June 2013.

7) The Unit was on CBS from 2006 through 2009. The show was about a top-secret military unit based on the real-life U.S. Army special operations unit commonly known as Delta Force. The series was very popular, but many fans never realized that the show was based on the show producer Eric L. Haney’s book, Inside Delta Force : the Story of America’s Elite Counterterrorist Unit.

8)Friday Night Lights is another popular show that many fans do not connect with the book, rather they think about the movie. Both the television series, and the movie, were inspired by the non-fiction book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by  H.G. Bissinger, which was published in 1988.

9) Bones, the television series about a forensic scientist working with the FBI, is inspired by the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs. The book series began with Déjà Dead, published in 1997.  The show does not follow the novels, rather that act somewhat like a prequel to them, with the TV show’s Temperance Brennan as a younger version of the novels’ Temperance Brennan.

10) Pre[Cover]tty Little Liars is an American teen drama with an element of mystery and a thriller twist built in. It is  loosely based on the popular series of novels written by Sara Shepard, which began with a novel of the same title, Pretty Little Liars published in 2006. The 13th book in the series, Crushed, is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2013 and the 14th book is expected to be released in December of 2013. The television series premiered in 2010, and was renewed for its 5th season, with a spin off series to air in the fall of 2013.

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